Smartwatches haven’t taken off as gaming devices, and it’s not hard to see why: Their tiny screens don’t leave a lot of room for virtual buttons. How can you play a game if you can’t even see it?
Now one patent has revealed a possible solution to the problem — but it comes from a company whose CEO once said he saw no future in smartwatches.
Dutch site LetsGoDigital reports that Huawei has filed a patent for a smartwatch that lets users control the device a little like a traditional game console. How? By using the straps.
The patent includes diagrams showing the watch held with a strap in each hand. Mechanical and touch sensors sense orientation, taps, even whether the strap is being pulled — all translated into moves inside games.
The obvious downside is that you’d have to actually take your watch off to play with it — but another drawing shows how it could be used with the watch still on your wrist, with different fingers reaching across to different straps.
Until now, games haven’t really been a top feature for smartwatches — and they’ve largely been limited to brain teasers like Dot Rush and classics like Blackjack. (There are a few examples of adventure games on smartwatches, but they are pretty limited).
But gamers shouldn’t get too excited just yet. Tech companies apply for patents — exclusive rights for a new way of doing something — all the time, even when they might not bring that product or feature to market.
Those who aren’t into gaming are also in luck. The patent also shows the technology being used as a virtual keyboard, as well as a zooming in and out of selfies. It even has a nifty copy and paste feature.
To be sure, we won’t see console or even smartphone-level gaming on smartwatches in the near future. But with other players like Samsung proposing things like a wearable projector that lets you game using your palm, it’s possible a decent smartwatch gaming experience is on its way.